Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape (World Heritage)

The world heritage includes a complex with two magnificent castles, a huge landscaped park and numerous monuments. Valtice Castle is one of the most beautiful baroque castles in the country. Lednice Castle was founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style. The park surrounding the castles has a total area of ​​more than 200 km² and is the largest landscaped garden in Europe.

Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape: facts

Official title: Cultural landscape of Lednice (Eisgrub) -Valtice (Feldsberg)
Cultural monument: With around 283 km² one of the largest man-made landscapes in Europe designed on behalf of the Princes of Liechtenstein, including with the Lednice Palace and Valtice Castle, the colonnades on the Rajstno Hill, the Lednice Greenhouse, the 62 m high minaret (1797-1802), the Belvedere on the Liščí Hill, the “Temple of the Three Graces” and the St. Hubertus Chapel
Continent: Europe
Country: Czech Republic, South Moravia
Location: Lenice and Valtice, south of Brno, west of Breclav
Appointment: 1996
Meaning: a harmonious combination of baroque, classical and neo-Gothic architecture and an English landscape park

Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape: history

1569-1627 under Charles I of Liechtenstein, viceroy of Bohemia since 1620, first garden design
1611-1684 Karl Eusebius of Liechtenstein, at his instigation
1656 an avenue was laid out between Valtice and Lednice
1715-1717 Planting of 2201 trees along the old Valtice-Lednice road
1759-1805 Alois Josef I.
1790 Josef Hardtmuth (1752-1816) becomes court architect for the Princes of Liechtenstein
1802 Construction of the Belvedere
1805-1808 The park of Valtice and Lednice was designed by Bernhard Petri (1767-1853)
1938 Valtice is abandoned as the residence of the Princes of Liechtenstein
1945 Expropriation of the Liechtenstein family, castles and lands fall to the Czechoslovak state.

A minaret in the »garden of Europe«

For the Austrian neighbors it’s been a Sunday excursion since the opening of the border: a quick trip over to southern Moravia, goulash and dumplings in mind, maybe a quarter or two of the region’s heavy red wine, and gasoline is also known to be cheaper. At the latest, the insights along the dead straight, seven-kilometer-long chestnut avenue between the villages of Lednice and Valtice will displace the thoughts of an inn, wine cellar and gas station: What strange building looms up there, almost 60 meters high and with visitors in the viewing gallery? A minaret in the middle of Moravia! And why is there a gigantic triumphal arch, called “Rendezvous”, in the open landscape, what do the small white temples that shine out of the lush green mean?

Just as the noble families of Rosenberg, Eggenberg and Schwarzenberg immortalized themselves in the urban gem of Český Krumlov in South Bohemia, so the park landscape in the Czech-Austrian border region is a legacy of the Liechtenstein princes. For centuries, from the 13th century to 1938, this noble family held court in their double residence, which was then called Eisgrub and Feldsberg. The largest landscaped landscape park in Europe, created at the beginning of the 19th century under Prince Johann Josef I, offered the Liechtensteiners the opportunity to demonstrate their prosperity and artistry. Hundreds of workers in the swamp and floodplain of the Thaya went to work on the gigantic work for which the garden architect Bernhard Petri had supplied the plans. The course of the river was relocated the land was raised, water was diverted into artificial ponds, and small islands were created. Between the baroque castle of Feldsberg and the Eisgruber castle in the style of the English Tudor Gothic, the »Garden of Europe« was created, for which more than 36,000 cuttings and seed species were transported from America to the borderland. Before that, the orangery with rare citrus fruits, olives and figs and the greenhouse with a collection of rare orchids ensured that the reputation of the princely double residence spread far beyond Moravia. Anyone wandering through the giant park today will experience structural surprises again and again between well-tended “English” lawns, colorful fields of flowers and secluded forests by streams and ponds, some of which were created in the spirit of romanticism. partly go back to models of English landscape parks or represent an homage to the Greek-Doric “fashion” popular at the time. There is the mentioned minaret, built from 1797 to 1802, with which Prince Alois Josef I wanted to annoy the parish fathers of Eisgrub, who had withheld the desired area for a church. The prince had his house architect Joseph Hardtmuth built the “oriental tower” with paintings in the Moorish style, “in order to punish the pagans.”

Again and again, idyllic temples come into view in the parkland: sometimes dedicated to Apollo at the mill pond, elsewhere at the middle pond to the three graces, at the forester’s house in Valtice in the form of a triumphal arch of the goddess Diana. The people of Liechtenstein came up with a classicist row of columns that suddenly appeared in the grassland as a reminder of their ancestors. Romantic motifs such as the replicated ruins of a Roman aqueduct or the little summer palace »Johannisburg« in the form of a ruin may be an incentive for every visitor to pull out the camera. Meanwhile, the waterworks presents itself as a kiosk that was otherwise only known from the Ottoman Empire.

The landscape park is also part of a nature reserve and home to numerous rare bird species, but some people come to the borderland for a completely different reason: the annual “wine market” in May in the Valtice Riding Hall has an excellent reputation. The castles have long been one of the most visited castles in the Czech Republic.

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape (World Heritage)